Girls Prep D2 Poll
It isn’t very often when a team makes its debut in a poll at the #1 spot, but there really isn’t much else you can do with Vermont Academy. The Wildcats, unranked in the pre-season, take over the top spot in the first regular season HNIB News Girls Division 2 Prep Top 10.
Vermont Academy (10-0-1), under first-year head coach Lisa Marshall, blitzed four Division 1 opponents to win this past weekend’s Watkins Annual Tournament at Cushing. They outscored Berkshire, Cushing, Winchendon and last year’s Division 1 New England champion, New Hampton, to the tune of 22-3. In the title game, The Wildcats blanked New Hampton 4-0.
“This team continues to surprise me every step of the way,” said Vermont Academy coach Lisa Marshall. “As a coach, I felt every single player stepped up their game for the weekend and as a result, they worked hard to control the controllables and stay very disciplined. They were very excited to play in such a strong tournament and once they realized that they could win as a team if they played a full game together, it was very exciting to witness.”
The roster has been bolstered by the arrival of three talented players from the Czech Republic in sophomore forward Krystina Kaltounkova, sophomore defenseman Klara Jandusikova and senior goalie Blanka Skudova. Another key has been the play of post-grad forward Chloe Aurard, a native of France and Northeastern recruit in her third year at Vermont Academy.
“Heading into the season, we had eight returners and seven new players,” Marshall said. “As an entirely new coaching staff, we approached the year with the message that everyone was starting at square one whether they were a ninth grader or a four year senior. Each player contributes to the culture that we are building.”
The Wildcats look ahead to a January 10th date with Gunnery, the only team that has tied them this winter.
Worcester Academy (6-2-0) stays at #2. The Hilltoppers suffered a pair of losses at the Watkins Tournament, to D1 New Hampton and Northwood. Coach Kevin Zifcak’s crew returns with a game January 5th at St. Mark’s.
Rivers (5-1-0) stays put at #3. The Red Wings, under new head coach Dana Trivigno, swept thee games at the Dexter Southfield Holiday Tournament, beating Millbrook (5-1), Middlesex (4-0) and Dexter Southfield (4-0).
#4 Brooks (4-0-3) took home the title at the Exeter Tournament, beating the hosts in the final, 2-1, in a shootout, thanks to solid play from goaltender Caroline Kukas.
Don’t look now, but #5 Canterbury is 8-0-0 on the young season for new coach Katie Mandigo. The Saints swept their three games at the Portsmouth Abbey invitational with wins over Portsmouth Abbey (4-3), Proctor (2-1) and Pingree (6-1). They will face some D1 opponents over New Year’s at Winchendon’s 2018 Invitational.
This week’s 6-10 spots are taken by Gunnery (2-3-1), Proctor (6-4-0), St. George’s (4-2-0), Groton (4-1-2) and Thayer (4-4-0). Looking to get back into the rankings are Kimball Union, Greenwich Academy and Tilton.